Monday, December 21, 2009

New York, New York


New York. Amidst its uniquely offensive smells, while biking along pot-holed roads with the constant threat of being hit by cars and accompanied by their honking refrain, I thought of the relative ills and beauties of this metropolis and kept thinking of how its name conjures one of Basho’s lesser-known haiku about the limestone islands of Matsushima bay. Because, supposedly, he couldn’t conjure the actual beauty of the experience he simply wrote:

Matsushima

Ah, Matsushima

Matsushima

Perhaps I was only told this to further sell me on the tour I was taking, but even that, I think, can be appropriate to New York: home of Capitalisms most holy of holies, Times Square, and the endless, 3D multi-media marketing blitz invading your senses at every angle. My most socialist friend has only lived there 6 months and is already softening to Capitalism under New York’s insistent charms.


New York transforms. It took the torn-edged mountains of my mountain home and the jagged pine-topped hills surrounding my current home and replaced them with squared, even, and endless horizons of cement and steel. The tiny valleys, dales, and canyons of the city were labyrinthine. Every time my sister or a friend took me to a great diner or chocolatier or bakery I asked them how they ever found it. I don’t know that they ever answered me, but maybe it was the same way I found the fanciest food shop I’ve ever seen or how I stumbled upon The Strand bookstore unexpectedly, they just went walking. Still it seems a miracle to know where anything is in a city so large and unwieldy. I loved biking down to the beach, watching the dense city slowly lose its grip on the earth and air till it receded into the background, a more distant noise to the wind and waves.



But they do find these places. And that contributes to my next wonder at New York. So many people in such a complicated and multifarious concatenation of walkers, runners, bikers, drivers, bussers, and taxis, that the mostly fluid execution of so many independent minds, thoughts, and actions not bringing it all down in rubble or at least to a screeching halt is a marvel. Sure, the dance is accompanied by the honks, roar, and stink of the city, but take a step back into Central or Prospect park and the tones soften and take on a certain rhythm and beat that a large portion of the earth is stepping to.


Because I can't resist.


I don’t know if it was this unexpected pleasure of finding anything that inspired me, but I felt almost certain I’d run into some old friend I’d lost contact with at some point during my visit. No one in particular, but it seemed, with so many people, I’d have to run into someone I knew sooner or later. Maybe I needed to sit and wait for it. But it did mean that instead of encountering a faceless horde reflecting how dehumanizing and devouring masses are of individuals, I was always looking out for someone I knew, half-expecting to run into them. In New York such an impossibility seems nigh inevitable.

And the languages. Riding a bus there was Spanish, Italian, and Russian being spoken in the bus while we passed stores with Arabic and Greek on the signs. It’s incredible. It is a world metropolis where languages, cultures, and people abut to create an endlessly fascinating mosaic.

In the end, I decided that just as you shouldn’t trust a man who has no enemies (quotation unknown and probably non-existent), the fact that a city as vibrant, magical, messy, and transcendent as New York exists without a dystopian nightmare future, is miraculous.

Be seeing you soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plying our Manly Oars

video

Here's me and Brant leisurely winning our first canoe race--on the Susquehanna no less... love that name. We didn't get the mid part where we have another quick spurt to catch up to the leaders, you get a pretty good sense of the chaos and the sweet, sweet victory.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Falling Water

The school was going, so I went a long to Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water near Mill Run, PA. This is my second visit to the the home that was to Wright's career exactly what Xanadu wasn't to Gene Kelly's. No, this was Wright's Batman Begins, injecting new life into what everyone thought was a career that had seen its peak. But now Falling Water is on a list of 12 places that will change your life, 28 places to see before you die, and the top 50 places to blah blah blah. It even made my mother not begrudge the conservation society its "outrageous" entrance fee. And in that, it is one of a kind.

It's also beautiful, the home, and harmoniously built for its environment. My first visit to the house didn't leave me wondering about just how harmonious art deco right angles and geometric patterns were with the lines of nature. Where were the really organic lines of a Gaudi or a Ghery? In the rough hewn lines of the floor and wall stones, I suppose, but still, there was something that was making me buy less this, "harmony with nature" aesthetic it was selling. Though the spot on the wall where the water from a local spring seeped through the masonry, ran through a channel in the stone, then through a crack in the floor to continue to the river was fairly harmonious with its surroundings as were the beveled, mold-less windows that allowed outer walls to become inner and vice versa. The light and dark of the house echoing the light and dark spaces of the waterfall was a nice tough as well. And the family of lady bugs crawling on the cieling of the guest room. Nice touch, Wright. Very nice.

So, while I accepted less readily the "harmonious with nature" line they were peddling, due to its multitude of sharp lines, the house does integrate the setting--which is gorgeous--with its construction and abstracts, very successfully, the natural features of the land to achieve a home that really is a work of art and one which, just like it did 12 years ago when I first saw it, make me cry that I will never be able to live there. I try to comfort myself with the idea that it would be possible to live in an equally beautiful house.

But I doubt that's possible. Honestly.

Oh, and Dad, that's me at Falling Water in the fall. Eat your heart out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Liza Lou



I was read to as a child. I attribute my continued love of reading to that fact. One of the most memorable childhood stories was “Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp,” by Mercer Mayer. My dad marshaled a host of voices to enliven the episodic adventures of a young bayou girl who’s daily errands took her into the Yeller Belly swamp which was also the haunt of witches, ghosts, ghouls, devils, and trolls. Good child fare. She uses her wits to get the better of them and keep her and her little opossum safe.

A possum. It reminds me of another being-read-to-as-a-child story. My parents had a British friend who came and read me a story about an Opossum. I don’t remember the story, but I remember how odd I thought it was that some people—British ones—put an O in front of possum. Opossum. Seemed unwieldy with the extra letter/vowel/syllable. Sadly the internet wasn’t around to instantly assuage my curiosities at the time. Still, opossum or possum, they were adorable fare for childhood picture books.

So, it was with no small delight that I found there were often opossums prowling about my new neighborhood (ie. Pennsylvania). My first night, dazed and bleary-eyed, driving into town, a white critter appeared in my headlights. On many nights, on many suburban streets, I’ve seen similar specimens of North America’s only native marsupial and it was with no little dismay last week when I turned one into road kill.

Distraught, I called any and everyone I could think of to vent—yes, while still driving, but, no, I didn’t hit another. It was horrifying. A hyper-real horror where, rather than the actual possum I’d just hit and who’s body heft I’d felt filtered through galvanized rubber and steel, I kept seeing Liza Lou’s possum looking startled with it’s big eyes at me, the reader/driver child/man, after sauntering away from Liza Lou’s side while she was telling the swamp devil that she had the parson’s soul in her molasses jar.

But before he could say, “a chicken crossed the road, frogs’ll cross it too, if you’re not real quick, you’ll end up in a stew,” the car shuddered, the darkness took the possum, and I was on my way, a slightly sadder man.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finding a Home




There are a couple of flash back blogs I'll do of my last days in Provo this summer, but I wanted to post some pictures of a dreamy neighborhood here in South Harrisburg I went through while trying to find a home. It's right along the river and was the a place the man who owned the local lumber mill made for his workers to live. It's the first place to flood in Harrisburg--which it did a couple years ago so some of the new homes are built with only a garage on the first floor with a latticed wood garage door and balcony and living room on the first floor with arched floor to ceiling windows and fine bricks. It would be heaven to live there, I think.

And let's go back to that word "home." I think that's why I'm having such a hard time finding a place to settle in. I can never get all of the pieces together. It'll be a good price but really run down, it'll be in a great place but my front balcony is a smoking nook for other tenants, it'll be not too far, but only one shared bedroom, it'll be in a lovely neighborhood but with an extra $500 tax--should I worry about this one?--it'll be in a lovely neighborhood with a place for a canoe near the river, but it won't actually exist... that's a real sad one.

I do get hopeful every time. There was a studio apartment I wasn't too thrilled about, but after sleeping on a couch and having nothing but a small suitcase to live out of for more than a week, I was going to take it. No year lease, just sweet freedom and paying for what I get. But no laundry. Kind of lame. But livable. We'll see. And the shared room... also perhaps livable. We'll see. Still looking and having an okay time doing it. And if that canoe heaven turns out to be real... it's far from campus, but oh, man, that'd be the life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Namers Ltd.




The other day, don’t know why, I was told that my perfect job was to name things. A namer, I suppose. At the time I had maybe made up a punny nick name for some thing or other, but the next day, walking around the tree streets I started thinking of the names of trees. Hawthorne. Osier. Weeping Willow. Beech. Oak. Sycamore. Rowan. Mountain Ash.

Then I started thinking about how “intuitive” these names are. Weeping Willow is an easy one since it has all those drooping branches like one who might be weeping. Actually it works on many levels. The drooping branches can also be falling tears, or perhaps, in summer, its concealed interior is a perfect place to cry.

But what about the willow part? It perhaps relates to Willows, but that just leads to another association. But what about Osier, is there something there that indicates its wispy branches? Is there something sinuous and strong inherent in Beech? Howthorne’s do have a thorniness to them, but do they have a haw-ness? Doubtful, though I’m sure one could be instructed.

Then I did some thinking of the names of birds, or even the names, sky, moon, morning. I loved testing the sound and feel of the names—mainly of trees—and wondering about how they related to that which they named. I spent a lovely walking doing this, and I think I could spend a lovely life doing the same.

Sadly, most everything’s named already. How lovely must it have been for Adam, God bringing him various creatures, plants and animals, mutable and new, and invited him to attach a name. A certain collection of oral movements, expelled breath, and vibrations of the vocal chords. Eden, where the connections between thing named and name were new and known.

So, if anyone needs anything named, let me know. I’d like to start building up a resume. And, speaking of expelled breath, I’m looking for the word/name for when one expels breath quickly out of the nose or mouth as if in disgust. Similar to a pshaw, but not so heavy handed.

PS. My favorite tree is the Magnolia—again, where’d that name come from? Though I do like that it has a combination feel of broad, delicate, and strong. But that’s probably just what I associate it with because of my feelings about the tree. And that’s another thing I’d love about naming, thinking of what feel certain collections of consonants and vowels would take on through association with thing named. Anyway, they’re in bloom right now. Go find one to sit under right now; the blooms don’t last.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ambidextrous

It was from a picture of Danny Kaye, a still from one of his movies, that I had my first dream: ambidexterity. It had all the purity of childhood dreams. I can’t remember a particular reason or purpose for this dream, but there was something utterly delicious to me in the ability to write equally well with BOTH hands! I’m failing utterly to recreate the loftiness I felt about this dream. There was some exquisite joy to be had in this rare skill. Everyone could write, but who could write equally well with both hands? No one I knew.

And perhaps that was the joy. As the seventh of ten who wasn’t as important as my naughty older sisters, or as good an artist as my older brothers, or as good a singer as my younger sisters, it was something I could do that no one I knew could do. That was unheard of in my world of second-place ribbons in running, spelling, et al. I was good, but unremarkable, so unlike an ambidextrous man.

Some dreams need to be kept close and nurtured in the dark like beans rolled in a damp cloth sprouting in my Jr. High shop locker. But I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know there were dreamers and pragmatists. So I took my dream and excitement to my mother and told her of my dream.

“Who would want to be ambidextrous?”

Her words crushed me. I was too shy a child to defend myself. What if I lose my right hand? No problem, that’s what! What if they have a contest in school where they tie your good hand behind your back? I’d be ready! What if little miss Kinghorn looks over while I write her love notes with both hands at the same time? World class reciprocal crush, that’s what! But none of these scenes were lighted on the stage; the curtain had already come down.

Such was the death of my first dream.

Until last week playing the Napoleon Dynamite board game. One of the tasks requires you to draw with your “bad” hand. My sister said she could do that task as she was ambidextrous. My heart stopped and I travelled back in time, aghast.

“You taught yourself that?”

“Yeah.”

“I so wanted to do that as a child. But told mom and she thought it was a dumb idea.”

“Yeah, I didn’t tell mom.”

We won that round and the game, and instead of crying for that first, lost dream, I thought, it didn't have to die. Even though it’s kind of pointless now that I type way more than write, even though I still have a working right hand, even though miss Kinghorn is probably now Mrs. Kinghorn, and even though—bitterest of all?—it won’t even serve to make me special or unique in the family like I once dreamed it would. It could still make me smile.

Or maybe I need to look at some other dreams and decide which one I ought to unearth and give a second, if stumbling and zombie-like, life.

Kaleidoscope

What do you see? That’s the delight in Kaleidoscopes, I suppose. I remember a cheap one in my house that I played with near the patches of sun thrown through the living room windows onto our tan carpet. A cardboard tube covered in red paper, I held its clear, sleekness in both hands, the better for twisting and tumbling what looked like left over pieces of plastic from more expensive toys. This was the bologna and hotdog of the toy world.

At first I turned it eagerly, excited to rush to each new collection of reality made fantastic through multiple reflection. The colors and shapes slid and plopped into new and infinite patterns again and again. Sometimes I’d be shocked by the intricacy, sometimes the banality, of this closed magical tube of infinity.

Then I stopped turning it. I held it in one place when I realized the patterns don’t repeat. They’re unique in the world. This cheap, left-over plastic aided by three mirrors was forming unique patterns that would only be seen by me, and only once, before disappearing forever. I felt strange to be responsible for these fleeting and unique patterns, to know that their existence required me to hold them indefinitely.

But I couldn’t hold them indefinitely, so I dropped it on the ground, imagining the pattern newly created by the fall looking for an eye that would not. And there I left it forever after because soon I stopped picking up kaleidoscopes altogether. They made me feel old.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts of a Grandchild

Visiting my grandparents I wonder if I’m too serious. Like my grandpa. What I really mean is I’d like to make my grandma laugh. She laughs when I’m there but mostly at her own jokes and stories. Like the one where she comes back from Germany with her parents, 10 years old, speaking German, and fat from eating cake instead of the dark German bread.

It occurs to me later that I made my grandpa laugh by eating a big bite of apple pie. “That would take me at least three bites,” he says while I try to mentally divide my piece into three while thinking I could accommodate a lot more. This is apple pie. The bite was slightly ungainly, but quite doable even with my sticky jaw joints that don’t like opening all the way. Did they?

I don’t remember if my jaw did or not. I do remember clearing away plates and cleaning and putting away the card table they used for a visit from my grandpa’s sister and her husband. I remember talking with my grandparents. I remember feeling as I left that I wanted to make my grandma laugh. Not the way she nervously laughs when I carry her up and down the stairs at my parent’s, but by being playful and precocious as she nears 92.

And now I’m thinking about what I can give my grandma. The woman who started teaching me how to read. The woman who attached buttons to knotted string in ketchup bottles to make toys, who fired the best omelets over a blue gas flame, who embarrasses and delights me by telling jokes to strangers. I can adjust her mattress when it slips, shovel her driveway, take out the trash, trim the weeds growing up in the sidewalk cracks, and other chores. And maybe after a hard lifetime of chores, that’s what she needs.

I’d also love to get my mother a maid to end her lifetime of chores, but I know she’d prefer travel. She’d prefer exploring Thailand or Vietnam with me to not having to cook and clean in an increasingly vacant home. She’d also prefer to provide wants to needs. I remember finding her after one of my dad’s “let’s show Mom how much we love her” programs. Mom was down. Everyone had mentioned how much she did for them which left her feeling, ‘is that all?’

Needs and wants. The first seems boring, the latter exciting as evidenced by the maid versus world travel scenario or mattress adjusting versus jokemeister-G. Am I bothered by being a boring need fulfiller rather than a want provider? A source of comfort instead of excitement?

Or am I a perpetual discontent? When I was young, I was smart and good, but I wanted to be fun and popular. Then I was fun, but I missed being thoughtful. So I contemplated more but wanted surety. I’m helpful in ways to my grandma. I want to be good to her, but why is the role I seem to fulfill at the moment one that is not good for what it is, but lacking for what it isn’t? Her favorite granddaughter brings her dinners and plays skipbo with her. A relief because she hates cooking—hates—and a delight because she loves games.

So I worry about giving people what they need but not what they want even though it’s not true. For one, I’m not even that good at providing needs. I help only rarely my mother or my grandma. Plus, I’ve told grandma some zingers. When taking her to visit my grandpa in the hospital, she asked why the orange went to the doctor. I guessed, “He had a naval infection?” The alternate punch line stopped her. She cooed, ‘ooh, that’s good,’ before going on to say, “He wasn’t peeling well,” with a naughty smile. Every nurse, receptionist and visitor we passed heard the joke with both punch lines, my grandma graciously crediting me with the one I had come up with.

So embarrassing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Bookless


This last week I didn’t read anything. Nothing big anyway. No books, no blogs, no comics, no articles. Nothing. I did read labels and emails—as long as they didn’t seem too constructed. If they seemed conversational, I categorized them with texts and IMing and read on. I also wrote and in revising my work read my own words, that was legal. The idea is that with less input of words, I’ll free the passages and increase my output of words.


To clarify: I am not one of those Nimrods who never reads and is proud of the fact. This is just one week.


First thing I learned is that reading is my drug, and my room is my heroin den. Books are everywhere. Two piles of seventeen volumes sit on my bedside table alone. Splayed out in front of the table on the floor are nine more not counting three family histories lying there. They’re technically folders. And then there are two full bookcases and another two shelves. All full of books. All off limits.


A sample of some nightly thoughts:


Monday, Jan 26, 2009

Night is when it’s worst. I can’t sleep. TV’s not helping. Catching up on Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock and SNL aren’t helping. Books are everywhere, glaring at me. I glare back. I write an opening scene to a screenplay I’ve been thinking about a lot. Like it. Still can’t sleep. Write notes for a Sci-fi novel I’m working on. Like that. Still not sleeping. Work on some dirty haikus. Still awake. Write in my journal (the absolute last straw), and I am still awake. Finally about 4 or 5 I drift off. Hell.


Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009

Coming home from an evening in SLC, I’m drowsy. Good sign. Really good sign. But, another bookless night means another sleepless night. A nightly read is as necessary to me, apparently as a morning cup of coffee is to some people. Ah, what a creature of habit. Interesting experiment, but I’d love to get some sleep. TV again?


Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

Travelling all night. No sleep expected. Do a crossword instead of reading on the flight. I start getting a bit of help from the empty seat’s copy of the in-flight magazine for difficult words, but soon am using it as a reference, hoping the people across the isle aren’t watching me.


Thursday, Jan 29, 2009

Read a bit of an online comic over a friend’s shoulder. Feel kind of silly for not reading.


That kind of thing. When the readinglessness ends, I keep it up for a couple of days then finish “Stumbling on Happiness” which is a fascinating book about how the brain works to predict and ensure future happiness from past experiences. It cites many fascinating studies, and I’m glad to be reading again. I also get caught up on news stories and comics and some articles on how spam works. Interesting stuff.


Did not reading increase output? Somewhat, by not sleeping I was left with no choice but to write. It did quiet the voices inside a bit too and, surprising side effect, I’m going without the radio and singing in the car more.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Experiment with Posh

It's maybe been a year or more that I've been eying the sweet bottles of pure maple syrup at Costco, Maceys, Smiths, anywhere I go to buy breakfast stuffs--which is, if you don't know, about all the food I buy and keep in my home because it's the only meal I reliably eat there.

Going through Costco after Christmas--when I had received, among other things, a Waffle Maker--I decided it was finally time to give into my long-time desires and get some pure maple syrup. Oh, yes. As I checked out, my checker was a bit more talkative and asked me about the pure maple sryup--big news, I know--and I told her that I've always wanted to try it and I finally am. Then she said 'yeah, it's so expensive though. you've got to mix it with regular syrup to make it go farther.'

Hmmm..., I thought. Interesting. That doesn't sound like what I want to do with my new premium priced luxury item, but I'll think about it. I did. I thought it was ridiculous to buy specially good syrup just so I can make my regular cheap syrup taste a little better. When I order a steak at a restaurant, I don't put ketchup on it! Total waste. Nor was I going to mix my pure maple with Mrs. Butterworth's bargain basement maple. As buttery as it is.

No, forget that. I choose the other extreme. I bought fresh blueberries, whipping up lavender flavored cream, and bought some premium orange juice for the to eat with my blue corn waffles. That's right, got some special blue corn meal and buttermilk for the recipe which I highly recommend. They taste as clean as carrot juice or a fine sushi. Nice, clean, and pure. Like pure maple syrup.

And I still have a lot of posh syrup--I did get it at Costco--so if anyone out there has great Waffle recipes, I'm in the market/mood even if it requires soaking Quinoa overnight. Any "best waffles I've ever had," I'm interested. Viva la waffle.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Moonbeams


Reading a friend's blog about mishearing alpaca lips for apocalypse, I smiled because that kind of thing happens to me all the time. I couldn't think of a single instance of that actually happening though. This made me sad. But not to worry, later that day at Ms. Fin's house, I heard one of her friends mention, as she held her son with one arm, that she had moonbeams on her pants. I started a bit. She is living in San Diego, so that's entirely possible. Then she started rubbing her pants to get the moonbeams out. Turns out it was green beans. I'd heard moonbeams. It left a lovely image in my mind, though. If moonbeams are going to get all over our clothes, I hope they're hard to get out. I hope they're hard as the dickens to get out.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Year in Review

Favorite Books this Year
(which all happen to be authors I had never read before)

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges


Read it on the beach in Costa Rica and it was perfect. Couldn't stand to read anything else until I got his collected fictions. Haunting and beautiful.

American Pastoral by Philip Roth


Should be required reading for all Americans. Amazing.

Join Me! by Danny Wallace


Delightful. I want to be a British Journalist who does crazy/cool experiments like Danny Wallace and Jon Ronson... his "Them" should probably be on this list too.

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton


Can't remember how I found this, but read it, loved it, bought it for a loved one... who I don't think has read it.

Books I'm looking forward to reading
:
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, The Idiot by Dostoevsky, East of Eden by Steinbeck, Collected Fictions by Borges, Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, many more... in fact I can no longer go to Borders--even with their non-ending supply of great coupons in my email--because I get too antsy thinking of all the things I want to read and am not reading while I look for other things to read.

Favorite Movies of the Year


Slumdog Millionaire



Some will say it gets cheesy and the adult actors are overshadowed by their child counterparts. All that may be true, but I love Danny Boyle, loved the catharsis I felt at the end, and loved the movie.

The Fall



Loved the contrast of the mundanity in the 'real world' scenes with the stunning cinematography in the story world. Lovely story and the little girl is probably the only thing in the world cuter than WALL-E. Also not technically a 2008 movie, but this is when I heard about it.

Rocket Science


A delightful story that continually defied my expectations in wonderful ways. Great writing and acting.

WALL-E


I lied earlier, WALL-E is the cutest thing the world has ever known.

The Dark Knight



Even though Christian Bale's Batman still needs a lozenge, I loved Bruce Wayne's disgusting wealth, Heath Ledger's Joker was amazing. Pretty much everything was really well done.

Movies I'm looking forward to
:
Star Trek, Watchmen, Defiance, X-Men Origins: Wolverine... I know, doesn't seem to keep with my "favorite movies of the year" selections in general.

Favorite TV

Pushing Daisies



Was told I'd love this, so I've been watching it with my sister. I'm still in the first season, but I love the story-telling, the concept, narration, actors, dramatic tension, and overall beauty. Kudos to Lee Pace for making the list twice. So sad it's being canceled. It can now join a list of other awesome shows whose amazing-ness and popularity were somehow inversely proportionate: Arrested Development and Firefly come to mind.

30 Rock



Was also told I'd love this and after seeing the "Midnight Train to Georgia" episode again and again, figured I'd start up with the new season. Love it. The High School reunion episode in particular was hilarious and genius in its presentation of high school meanness. Oh, and the elevator jokes side gags were awesome.

TV I'm looking forward to:
Lost, Battlestar Galactica

Best Goal

Finish my thesis. I did. Actually graduating and becoming a "Master" was hardly noteworthy in comparison. Besides, no one even calls me by my new title. Finishing all my PhD applications (10 of them) well before the final deadlines was also great.

Worst Goal
Experimenting with the cosmos for a year to find out if horoscopes are accurate. I say this was the worst, not because it's necessarily a bad goal--I wish I'd done it throughout the year--but because stupid facebook's horoscope was not as dependable as the movement of the planets. Oh, no. The horoscope only lasted till April or May and even before that was spotty. Then it cut out altogether and I was left using guest horoscopes and other experiments for the rest of the year. Oh, and I'm almost as dependable as facebook's horoscope.

Favorite New Skill

Ukulele

Skill to pick up next:

Mandolin, Melodica, Accordion, Ranching